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Refugees in Kakuma contribute to county’s progress

Refugees in Kakuma, Turkana County, contribute more than three per cent of the area Gross Domestic Product, a new study says.

The study titled “Refugee Impacts on Turkana Hosts” was conducted jointly by the World Bank and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says the presence of refugees in the country has increased jobs by more than three per cent.

The study released yesterday said the presence of refugees increased consumption, incomes and assets of the host Turkana.

Kenya has an estimated 495,000 refugees according to official statistics; over 160,000 are in Kakuma.

Refugees in the camp usually receive aid in cash or food.

The report says consumption within 5km of Kakuma camp is 35 per cent higher than in other parts of the county highlighting the economic boost to hosts.

“Those who live close to the camp tend to have higher income and assets. Kakuma residents are four times more likely to own a bicycle than non-Kakuma residents,” the study points out.

The study appears to dispel the view by critics that refugees are an economic burden for countries that take them in.

It comes at a time Kenya is determined to shut down Dadaab Camp.

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